A moving experience

Friday, January 25, 2002
Ronda Graff

Hundreds, if not thousands and millions, of people move to new houses every day. As a recently-enrolled member of that elite corp., I have two words about the experience: never again.

Before the packing began, I thought a person should move every few years just to keep the amount of stuff down, to keep things from accumulating. I now have shifted to the other camp of settling in and not budging. Let the piles form where they may.

For starters, I was a little over-confident before the move even began. I had boxes filled in every corner of the old house. Garbage bags had already been hauled to the dump with the stuff we didn't want. Toys had been divided between the keeps and the tosses.

I was ready to move and was going to take me approximately two hours to move six years worth of things.

Much to my dismay and of no surprise to any one who has ever moved, I'm still moving a week later.

If it weren't for the removal of the large items such as the sofa, dining room table and beds, a person walking into our old house would never know we left.

I hadn't counted on the number of items under the couch, behind the bed or below the table. I didn't realize I wouldn't be able to discard the six partially-filled bottles of shampoo. Kids' toys have materialized out of no where. I'm convinced someone is sneaking into the old house every night and adding things for me to move. The moving experience has been an evolution.

In the beginning, the boxes are carefully labeled with each room and each item squarely placed inside. Every dish is precisely wrapped and gently placed in the box. Every book is methodically placed in crates divided between non-fiction, fiction and where did this book come from.

By the end, the books are just heaping masses of stuff, haphazardly thrown in. Dishes are lucky if they are not thrown into the box, much less have a wrapping for protection. Books are thrown away because there simply isn't any more room.

Much like the uncovering of forgotten and lost items at the beginning of the packing, discoveries continued as the packing moved along.

The most interesting: A intact tortilla under the microwave. Although a bit hard, a few seconds on high would have done the trick.

The most expensive: Several library books inside the couch. Because of holes in the base of the couch, several books had been "lost" and already paid for. The most disgusting: A molding, decomposing orange under my son's bed. Fortunately, it was covered in Alpha-bits, so it could be picked up.

I've learned I could never be a professional mover. Not because of the lifting or the packaging, but because I wouldn't know what the family wanted to keep or how to organize the boxes.

I spent half my time debating which box the picture frame should go into and whether I wanted to keep the wall decoration which had never made it onto the wall in the old house. I couldn't imagine an outsider trying to figure out my mess or what to do with the molding oranges.

My mother actually came up with a possible answer to all those little items left behind. Leave the remaining items behind for six months. If you don't come back for it, then obviously you don't need it.

The solution has only two problems. The first is that someone would probably like to move into the house within the next six months.

And I don't know what other food items my son has hid around the house. I don't want to open the front door six months from now and be greeted by a band of forgotten oranges and their cereal comrades.

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